THE owner of Poole’s Cobbs Quay has committed to investing £60milion over the next decade to improving customer experience across its sites.

MDL Marinas says it has invested £5m this year despite the Covid crisis laying waste to travel and holiday plans.

The majority of the further £60m will be spent on upgraded facilities, new marina hardware and services to underpin marina operations.

Some will be spent on environmental initiatives and some on diversifying the business, making it more inclusive and its locations more attractive to boaters and non-boaters alike, the company says.

The business owns 18 UK marinas and one in Spain.

One fifth of its investment this year has been spent on dredging and upgrading pontoon systems, which are vital for all-tides access and a safe and stable berth. Quay walls and breakwaters have been tackled to ensure a comfortable stay.

Tim Mayer, MDL’s sales and marketing director, said: “As always, most of the investment we make is not always the most visible, such as dredging and pontoon refurbishment, but it would be very noticeable if we didn’t complete these major works, and would impact heavily on a customer’s experience of our marinas.

“Our aim is always to provide excellent infrastructure and facilities for our core boating clientele. Everything else that we do expands on that, enhancing the experience for all.”

Cobbs Quay is one of three MDL marinas – along with Hamble Point and Ocean Village in Hampshire – to have had solar panels installed, producing 118,447kWh of electricity. MDL has 20 charging points across its sites for electric vehicles.

Filtabund filtration systems have been installed at some marinas to filter micro particles and oils from wastewater before it drains into the marina and the marine ecosystem. There is a programme to roll out the systems to other marinas.

Mr Mayer added: “MDL has recognised that social trends are transforming leisure boating and marinas need to present a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere for people to enjoy the on-water scene and lifestyle with family and friends.

“Provision of bars, restaurants and the very best facilities are a core part of our marinas’ infrastructure, but we’re planning on taking this a step further, broadening the appeal of our waterside locations for all in the coming months.”